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'File 8/7 I Jidda Intelligence Reports' [‎6r] (11/536)

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The record is made up of 1 file (266 folios). It was created in Jul 1931-Dec 1934. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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result and before there was even any definite news of the arrival of this fuel,
the Director-General of Finance was able to make advance sales of benzine
in Mecca for cash to the tune of two thousand pounds, at one pound sterling
a case, a transaction which paid him handsomely.
11. Neither this nor money collected periodically from Hejazi mer
chants “on loan” was used to reduce the Government’s indebtedness nor was
much if any of it used to pay Government officials’ salaries which fell still
further into arrear. The debt to Messrs. Gellatly, Hankey and Company
Limited of some eight thousand pounds remains outstanding and will pro
bably so remain until they can distrain on the receipts of the next pilgrimage
season. The Post Office Department’s debt to the Eastern Telegraph Com
pany continued to mount steadily since the last settlement up to the end of
April and was something over two thousand pounds at the end of August. As
for the thirty thousand pounds owed to the Government of India for arms
supplied to Ibn’Saud to crush the Nejd Rebellion of 1929, the Hejazi Gov
ernment’s appeal ad miscricordium was perforce allowed and they were
informed in July that the Government of India had no alternative
but to agree to still further postponed payment. The hope was expressen
that Ibn Sa’ud would honour his pledge not later than March
5th 1932. A reply expressing the King’s thanks, but nothing more, was
received in August.
X2. Economic. —Mr. Twitchell’s report on the minerals of the Hejaz
coastal area appeared in the “Umm-al-Qura’’ during July and August,
whence it was re-translated back into English and sent home for such expert
study as it might merit. To the layman it was disappointing. Some
ancient gold workings at A1 Qaryat and some surface exphalt up and down
the coast near Wejh appeared to be the only indications of mineral wealth
of any possible value. More will be kown when Mr. Twitchell returns, as
is expected, in October with six American prospectors. This factor at
least would seem to show that there was more in his report or his further dis
coveries than was published. The Swedish geological mission mentioned in
the May-June Report (paragraph 9) appears to have been side-tracked.
13. As a result of Mr. Twitchell’s report and supposed high optimism,
the exploitation of minerals began to assume attractive features in the eyes
of the local inhabitants as a rich alternative to the exploitation of pilgrims.
14. Marconi Wireless Installation. —The Hejazi Government failed
to pay the July and August instalments. There was also a series of delays
in getting on with the work of installation. Two mobile sets followed
Ibn Sa’ud to Riadh at the end of July, accompanied by Mr. Philby and the
Egyptian engineer, and there they were used to maintain communication
with the Hejaz, but no serious attempt was made to prepare the ground work
for the big Riadh station and all the material continued to lie in Jedda. As for
the station-to-be in Northern Hejaz and at J&af, the Marconi expert, Mr.
Boucicault, was unable to leave Jedda for Wejh until August, 2, and at the
end of the month he was still at Wejh, unable to proceed to Tabuk, the site
of the first station, for lack of benzine for his convoy.
15. Legislation. —The texts of measures governing the Shari’a Courts,
the Hejazi Civil Service, and Commerce and commercial legislation were
published during July and August.
16. Religious Intolerance .—July saw the re-constitution in Mecca of the
dreaded Wahhabi Committee of Virtue. The easy-going Hejazis were
beaten up to their five-a-day prayers by Nejdi soldiery placed at the
Committee’s disposal. In the words of an eye-witness, the Indian Vice-
Consul, “these incarnations of the devil widely run through the public
thoroughfares and enter the lanes and bye-lanes in pursuit of the defaulters
who might have taken shelter there, and on discovery fall upon them w T ith
all their might and beat them mercilessly. There is no distinction between
good or bad, rich or poor, young or old. They lay them down on the public
road and flog them indiscriminately’’. There appears to be no escape for
the Meccanis from these indignities, for whereas in the past offenders against
the puritan Wahhabi code of prayerfulness and abstenance from tobacco were

About this item


The file contains intelligence reports on the Kingdom of Hejaz, Najd and its Dependencies (after September 1932, Saudi Arabia) written by the British Legation at Jeddah.

Between July 1931 and December 1932 the reports are issued every two months, with the exception of the January-March 1932 and April 1932 reports. From January 1933 the reports are sent on a monthly basis.

Between July 1931 and December 1932, each report is divided into sections, numbered with Roman numerals from I to IX, as follows: Internal Affairs; Frontier Questions; Relations with States outside Arabia; Air Matters; Military Matters; Naval Matters; Pilgrimage; Slavery; and Miscellaneous. Each section is then further divided into parts relating to a particular matter or place, under a sub-heading. Some reports contain an annex.

From January 1933, when the reports become monthly, they take a new format. Each is divided into sections, as follows: Internal Affairs; Frontier Questions and Foreign Relations in Arabia; Relations with Powers Outside Arabia; Miscellaneous (often containing information on slavery and the pilgrimage).

Most reports are preceded by the covering letters from the Government of India, who distributed them to Political Offices in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. and elsewhere, and the original covering letter from the Jeddah Legation, who would send them to the Government of India and Government departments in London. From May 1933, most reports were sent directly to the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. at Bahrain from Jeddah.

Up until January 1933, each report began with an index giving a breakdown of the sections with references to the corresponding paragraph number. From January 1933 onwards no index is included.

Extent and format
1 file (266 folios)

The file is arranged chronologically.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover and terminates at the back cover; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional incomplete foliation sequence is also present in parallel between ff 6-11; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled, and are located in the same position as the main sequence.

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English in Latin script
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'File 8/7 I Jidda Intelligence Reports' [‎6r] (11/536), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/295, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 24 September 2019]

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